Semiotic Analysis and Public Policy : Connecting Theory and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Semiotic Analysis and Public Policy
Connecting Theory and Practice

ISBN 9780367671693
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

Semiotic Analysis and Public Policy evaluates several key areas of public policy that are dependent on narrative, naming, sign, and branding to create meaning. Semiotic analysis, drawing on the work of Saussure, Peirce, and others, allows for creation of a case-oriented model of brand versus product, and of medium compared with message.

Using a critical Habermasian lens, Atkinson convincingly exposes approaches focusing too heavily on instrumentality and rhetoric that claims a resolution of complex societal dilemmas. Rooted in the literature on public policy and semiotics, Atkinson creates an opportunity to delve more fully into the creation of narratives and meaning in policy, and the origins and maintenance of public programs. Evaluation of such programs shows various levels of disconnect between popular understanding of public considerations, political outcomes, and what results from the administrative/regulatory process in support of the law.

This book will be of interest for scholars and researchers of public policy, policy analysis, public administration, public management, and policy implementation.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Words Fail Us  Acknowledgements 1. Introduction  2. Semiotic Analysis and Public Policy: Theory and Practice  3. On Filth: Food Regulation, Enforcement, and Cheese  4. A Semiotic Analysis of Green Public Procurement  5. New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Law: Compliance versus Ethical Capacity  6. Symbol and Substance in Local Government Workforce Development: 'First Source' Hiring Programs  7. By Soil, Blood, and Administration: A Narrative Analysis of German Immigration Law  8. Reforming the Affordable Care Act: A Semiotic Analysis of Tweets using LIWC  9. Economic and Energy Development and the Goal of Sustainability in Thailand: An Argumentation Analysis  10. Bridging the Gap between Intent and Practice

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Christopher L. Atkinson is Assistant Professor in the Public Administration program at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida, USA. He serves as contributing faculty in the doctoral program at Walden University and has taught courses in the School of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, and at Unity College, Unity, Maine. He received his PhD from Florida Atlantic University, and BA and MPA degrees from George Washington University in Washington, DC. His research interests include public management and policy studies, public budgeting and procurement, regulation, and emergency management.


"In the vein of Lackoff, Atkinson’s eye-opening analysis will have you questioning what "is" really "is," and with all the intrigue of a political spy novel. The power of language to create reality is fear-inducing, and all the moreso within the context of public policy."

Carole L. Jurkiewicz, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

"… a rich tapestry of case studies that demonstrate the lack of close linkage between intent and outcome (instrumentality) in public policy and the need for participatory democracy, informed citizenry, and responsible citizenship above and beyond the empty rhetoric that currently permeates social and political life."

Governance, Nikolaos Zahariadis